Plagued by overcrowded classes and a shortage of seminars, Annenberg School for Communication officials are making it more difficult for prospective communications majors to matriculate. By raising the minimum cumulative grade point average from 2.5 to 3.0, Communications Professor Joseph Turow, who oversees undergraduate affairs, said he hopes to limit the major to 100 students per graduating class. For the past few years, more students have applied for the major, but according to Turow, the department cannot accommodate the growing numbers. As a result, students have had trouble getting into the three core courses they must take before applying and majors are have been repeatedly shut out of seminars. Turow said the Annenberg School accepted almost 140 students last year. With the new requirement -- which will take effect in February when students can apply again for the major -- Turow estimated that this year's applicant pool will decrease by about 30 students. Notifying as many students as possible who might be affected by the decision, the College office mailed letters to students who have taken core communications courses. The deadline for fall applications was extended 10 days to October 16 so that students who might have waited until February to apply can do so this month. Communications professors are also trying to help remedy the problem by teaching courses in both semesters that are usually offered only once a year. College Dean Robert Rescorla, who made the decision in conjunction with Turow, said he feels excluding more students from the major is unfortunate. But he said limiting the number of students seemed the only way to ensure that the students who qualified for the major could take the classes they wanted and develop meaningful relationships with professors. "The decision is not long term, and it's the best we can do in the interim," Rescorla said. "I'd like to find some way to satisfy the demand." For many in the Annenberg School, the new requirement is a welcome change that they do not foresee eliminating. Considerably smaller than the other schools, Annenberg serves primarily as a graduate program. And by limiting the number of majors, Turow said, the Annenberg faculty can devote most of its time to graduate students. But some students consider capping the major unfair. "It defeats the purpose of the College -- I came here to get a liberal arts education," said College sophomore Deborah Miller, who could not register for core communications courses two semesters in a row. "And now that I know I want to be a communications major, it's harder to do."Comments powered by Disqus
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